The Ba'al HaTurim to Deut. 11:26 cites Bab. Megillah 31b in saying that all the blessings and curses in "Mishneh Torah" (usually this means Sefer Devarim - Deuteronomy) are written in singular, and says that, therefore, "some explain" that that's why ReEh in Deut. 11:26 is singular.

First, who are the "some"?

Second, this is clearly not the case. For example, Deut. 4:15-18 is clearly a dire warning and curse against anyone who worships idols, yet it is in plural language. What do the commentaries say about this Gemara that the Ba'al HaTurim cites?


1 Answer 1


The 'Blessings and Curses' referenced in the Gemara there are those of the Tochecha (Deut. 28:15-68). Note how the Gemara compares it to the 'Blessings and Curses' of Leviticus, which Rashi on the preceding page defined as the Tochecha of Leviticus (Lev. 26:15-45).

I don't know who first suggested this as the reason for the singular ReEh, but I would suggest the reasoning is as follows:

ReEh opens a new section in the book of Devarim. Preceding it, the text is primarily Moshe's speaking about stories that have happened to them and general wisdom. From ReEh through the end of the Tochecha is a dense legal code framed on both sides by promises of blessings and curses (the Tochecha at the end and the paragraph beginning 'ReEh' at the start). In other words, it is a covenant containing the terms of the agreement and the outcome of fulfilling or breaking the agreement. Thus it seems appropriate that the grammatical structure of ReEh would parallel that of the later Tochecha.

  • So you're saying that "Mishneh Torah" here does not mean Sefer Devarim, but only that section, and so, even though there are other curses in Devarim, the Gemara did not mention those?
    – Seth J
    Nov 8, 2012 at 15:30
  • @SethJ The cited gemara in Megillah is referring to the public reading of the Torah and seems clear in it's reference to the Tochecha (the Mishna even says they are all in one Aliyah!). What the Baal Haturim wanted to do with it might be different, but pshat gemara is certainly as I said.
    – Double AA
    Nov 8, 2012 at 16:11
  • 1
    I'd still like to know who the Y"M are.
    – Seth J
    Nov 9, 2015 at 1:41

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